My mom declared our house a TV-Free zone when I was young.
Apparently I was addicted to the one channel we could actually see clearly enough to watch… also it should be noted back then that when moms or dads made a decision there was no negotiation surrounding it like I see much of today like “Moooooomm! If you let me watch TV I promise not to ______”
It was more like “Whose TV is this????!”
So I spent my days outside in our little town trying to find new ways to cheat death.
It was the time of bows and arrows, guns and knives.
My friends and I would wander around the neighbourhood and invent things to do. From the time I was tiny I was fascinated by weapons. Mom said she had a moral dilemma one Christmas when buying us cowboy six guns because of the violence against humanity indicated,
Until she realized we were pointing our fingers and “shooting” each other anyways. Somewhere along the way moms of boys give up and let nature weed out their children so they don’t have to watch.
Oh you younger generation parents need to relax a little. Our grandparents know how tough the human race can be when it has to, it just hasn’t had to in awhile.
Now to be fair, I’m definitely NOT advocating my boyhood stupidity, but I would suggest there were guardian angels for little boys.
When I was five and hanging upside down on a full sized outdoor hockey net, it began to tip over and landed on my face.
My mom heard me screaming from inside the house a block away. I apparently came as close to breaking my cheekbone one can without actually doing it, but I didn’t mind later because chicks in grade one dig scars.
All credit to my mom for allowing me outside again.
We used to roam the neighbourhood every day and make bows and arrows until the great day we could buy real ones. If boys make bows and arrows they also need something to shoot them at to prove their manhood because that makes sense to boys.
We shot at quite a few things and I can’t remember doing altogether too much damage.
As we grew up the level of danger had to rise naturally. The last “game of death” we tried was shooting our arrows as high in the sky as we could in our backyards and daring each other to stand face up trying to spot the arrows descending until one of us chickened out and ran for the trees. The idea being whoever the arrow landed closest to “won”… until the arrow landed ON them and they lost.
But nobody every lost that I can recall.
We received bumps and bruises daily, but it’s funny that the bumps and bruises taught us what complete shelter never could.
It also removed the fears of bumps and bruises.
Maybe it removed the fear of mistakes too?
Looking back, my parents really did well with what they knew. My friends and I grew up into adults relatively unafraid, willing to try life at whatever terms we found, and with the inherent ability to get back up, dust ourselves off, grin and have another go.
Too many of us are so afraid of suffering consequences we never try anything.
But weirdly, an opposite is also true. Some people have never faced the consequences of their lives because someone always stepped in front of them. They grow up thinking they are immune to consequence.
This week we declared Wednesday No Wifi Day. No laptops, no phones, just Lord of the Flies outside.
Neela is planning a WAR and that made me very happy. I’m not sure that means what it used to when I was young but I do hope in a strange way that it includes a little rough and tumble. Yesterday they were experimenting hanging out in a tree on the back path.
If a boy climbed a tree when I was young one simply had to out climb them, or knock them out of the tree with a ball, or off of the hill.
But we didn’t have Play Dates, we had wars, and it wasn’t a great day until somebody bled just a little.
Hopefully kids during this time rediscover LIFE and have stories to tell their kids that start like mine do:
“Oh my goodness! One time I shot my best friend in the rear end with my BB gun!”
Me: “He told me to! He wondered if it would really hurt or not! Then he jumped around the yard yelling at me! I laughed so hard I fell down!”
….Granted my dad told me when he was a boy he put a bunch of gloves on and shot himself in the hand to “See if it would hurt or not”.
It did. Made for a funny story too…